USMNT midfielder Yunus Musah honored as U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year
CHICAGO – Yunus Musah has been voted the 2022 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year after capping off one of the most productive runs ever for a teenager representing the USMNT.
Before turning 20 during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the midefielder logged the most minutes and starts for a teenager in team history while playing a critical role in the midfield during the USA’s successful run in Qatar.
This year marked Musah’s third nomination for the award after making his senior international debut for the U.S. in 2020 and establishing himself as a USMNT regular in 2021. He joins a long list of talented players to win U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year, which was first awarded in 1998 to Josh Wolff.
Musah was informed of the honor through a surprise video call from four-time FIFA World Cup veteran DaMarcus Beasley, who also won the award in 2001 as a 19-year-old.
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“It feels crazy to think out of all people that I was the one chosen to be the Young Male Player of the Year,” Musah said. “To get this award is really huge. I’ve said it many times – I’ve had the trust from the manager, the team, the U.S. to play so many games at this young age. It shows me that I just have to carry on the way I’m doing, keep being humble and keep working hard to try and be more. As a player, you just want to keep improving.”
The U.S. midfield was a key driver of the team’s success at the World Cup and Musah started all four matches in Qatar alongside captain Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie. The Valencia midfielder became the first teenager to start a World Cup match for the USA as well as the first to appear in multiple matches as he logged 345 minutes out of a possible 360 during the tournament.
Before his 20th birthday on Nov. 29, the day of the USA’s knockout round-clinching victory vs. IR Iran at the World Cup, Musah’s 1578 minutes played and 20 starts set new records for a teenager with the USMNT, while his 21 caps equaled the previous mark set by Jozy Altidore and Christian Pulisic.
On the year, Musah played in a career-high 12 matches and logged 1000 minutes, second for USMNT midfielders behind Adams. The midfielder also earned Man of the Match honors twice, during a crucial 0-0 draw against Mexico at the famed Estadio Azteca on March 24 and following a dominant, gritty performance in the 1-1 draw at El Salvador in Concacaf Nations League play on June 14.
With Valencia in the Spanish La Liga, Musah made 39 appearances while netting one goal and adding two assists across all competitions in 2022. He became the second U.S. international to appear in the Spanish Copa del Rey Final, coming off the bench in Valencia’s penalty kick shootout defeat to Real Betis.
For the second time, fans were able to vote for the U.S. Soccer Player and Young Player of the Year Awards with those votes weighted at 15% of the total. Of the five finalists for the Young Male Player of the Year Award, Musah garnered a resounding 83.9 percent of the overall tabulated votes followed by Paxten Aaronson (8.8%).
“To the fans from when they started the ‘Can’t spell Musah without USA thing’, through qualifiers and the World Cup, I feel like the fans have been behind me for so long – since before I even did anything in football,” Musah said. “As we went on playing games and they enjoyed the way I was playing and everything – I’d just like to say thank you for their unbelievable support and their trust since day one. The fans of the USMNT are great and I love them.”
Votes for U.S. Soccer Male and Young Male Player of the Year Awards are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who have earned a cap in 2021, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, professional league (MLS and USL) head coaches, select media members and former players and administrators.
A total of 24 of the 25 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year winners have earned caps with the full USMNT, and 11 have represented the USA at a FIFA World Cup.
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